The elders are in the process of drafting a missionary policy to assist our decisions regarding missionary support. To help us, we read the book, ‘Missions’ by Andy Johnson. Also, I have been writing bulletin articles outlining some of our ideas. We’ve seen that we should expect missionaries (i) to be members of a local church; (ii) to have the qualities of deacons and elders, (iii) to have a relationship with us; (iv) to support local churches; (v) to be in theological agreement with us. Today we come to my last point: (vi) our missionaries should need significant support.
Some missionaries have a lot of support from other churches and individual Christians. Therefore it would not be good stewardship for Drummoyne Baptist to give our resources where it is not needed. Jesus warns against unfaithful stewardship: ‘A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ ” ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas…I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away’ (Luke 19:12-26).
Furthermore, if we are going to have strong relationships with our missionaries we should be particularly generous to them. Johnson says: ‘As you vet workers, keep in mind the balance of their time and your level of financial support. This may sound carnal, but you can’t give a missionary a few hundred dollars a year and expect him or her to spend a lot of time answering your personal inquiries. This brings us back to my earlier advice about focusing your support on a few relationships. If your congregation gives a significant portion of a missionary’s financial needs, that changes things, doesn’t it? Then it’s reasonable to expect the missionary to reciprocate the commitment your church has demonstrated by financial support. Since we all have limited money to pass around, we want to support missionaries who work with excellence in all things.’
So let’s give generously where our money is going to be used well for the advancement of the kingdom.